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Going Courting

My dear readers,
I apologize for my long absence. However, I have an explanation and it ties beautifully with this post. I have met the man of my dreams, and he is keeping me very busy, and very happy.

Courting in the modern-day is very different from courting in the early 1900’s. My research about this topic has been quite the adventure. My book begins at the tail end of the Victorian era, in which Queen Victoria set strict guidelines for how courting was to be carried out. For example, a woman could not, under any circumstances, talk to a man of whom she had not been introduced. Her father, an older couple, or a mutual friend had to make the introduction. Once introduced, say for the purpose of a dance, the man could reintroduce himself and encourage the friendship, or he could choose not to do so. Men were allowed to approach a woman as long as there was a chaperon or escort with her that he could introduce himself (or greet) first. Women overcame this obstacle by using their fans, and body language to catch the eye of a man, and flirt without having to be introduced first.
Once the meeting had been established there were new rules to how much contact they were allowed to have. First names were not allowed (it was thought to be too forward), until an official courtship had been announced. They were allowed to walk together, but had to stay at least a foot apart. Dinner tables, and parlor rooms hosted most of the courtship, as they were within the watchful eyes of the family. Group courting became a great way for couples to spend some time somewhat alone.
Those are just the most basic of courtship rituals in the early 1900’s. The somewhat sad part, is that most of the courtships and marriages came about due to business arrangements, and personal financial gain. There were rare cases of true love, but that was not the main objective.

I, for one, am a hopeless romantic. Thus, my characters are marrying for the sake of being with one another for the rest of their lives. Writing their love story has been rather sweet for me lately. It is not every day that you get to fall in love at the same time as your main character. Thus, Walter has taken on a few of my love’s finer characteristics. I have also stolen some of my love’s text’s to insert into Walter’s romantic speeches to Julia. ‘Borrowing’ from the real world is what we writers have to do sometimes to add realism.
I leave you with words from Walter as he sits in a pub in Belfast Ireland.

I am forever changed because you are in my life. That it always has been, and always will be you. Here I am, sitting in a noisy Irish pub, wishing with all of my heart that I was by your side instead. But, I am here for you, my love. Here to secure our future together. I fully intend to provide for you, and to protect you from any harm at any cost. Julia, you have captivated me. All that I am,and all that I have I give to you freely. You make me the best man who I could ever hope to be, and I pray that I never have to live in a world in which you don’t exist.

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Chapter 1: The Setting

Piccadilly Circus, London 1912

“I still don’t see why people would make such a fuss over a boat. No matter how grand it is”. Lily sniffed in disapproval.

“Miss Anderson, the Titanic is not just a ship” Mr. Brown enunciated the ‘p’ on the end with a slight ‘pip’ sound. “It is a sign of the progressive movement that was started with the industrial revolution. Our world is changing. It is expanding with new inventions, and ideas. A ship is being built that were it to be stood on its side, would be taller than any skyscraper in the world. If man can build such a thing, what is there to hinder us? Who knows what could be next? The world as we know it now will not stay the same for long”. – Excerpt from “Take Me to Titanic” (Working title due to change).

Come along dear reader! Hurry up, the train is leaving! We have to board before it leaves us ahead. Yes, ahead. For we are currently in 2015. We want to get back to 1912! Ah, here it is. Take your ticket, board, and join me in exploring this exciting time in our history. Comfortable? Good. Here we go…

I used to think of the early 1900’s as an idyllic time framed by tradition and chivalry. I did not think that women had many rights, and that their only expectation was to find a good marriage. However, the more I have researched, the more I have realized how wrong I was in that assumption. The years leading to Titanic, on up until the Great Depression were fast paced, and everything was changing. The women suffragette were gaining momentum in gaining votes for women! There were protests (peaceful, and not so peaceful), law changes, and more professions were opening to women. 1912 held the fifth Olympics, and 48 women competed!

There were also many inventions coming about at that time. Henry Ford had invented the Model T Ford, and it was just beginning to replace the horse and carriage. The Wright Brothers had their successful flight at Kitty Hawk NC, and airplanes were continuing to be improved on as the years passed. In fact, planes were a major part of World War 1 in 1914. That is where we get the story of the famous Red Baron. Trains were getting faster, and there was a competition between the different ship companies to find the quickest route to New York.

Times were changing, new things were being invented. As is the norm with both of these things, there were people excited for the change and those opposed to it. This is the world that Walter, and Julia (the main characters of my novel) are surrounded with. Being young, they are caught up in the enthusiasm. The Titanic becomes, not just a ship, but an important part of their life. Not just as a means of transport, but of the idea that they could do anything! This is an important theme to me to portray in my novel. Not to focus solely on the tragedy, but to capture the energy and momentum of that time.

This is only a glimpse of the world I have been living in the past few months. I hope you have enjoyed your first trip to the early 1900’s. We’ll dive more into their entertainment and courting rituals in the coming posts. For now, I bid you all a very fond good night.


Prologue

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I have been told since I was little that a good story has a beginning, a middle, and an end. When I started writing class, I learned that there was more to each of the three main parts. One of these things is called a Prologue. It is the introduction to the introduction. It’s something that you need to know, in order to fully appreciate the rest of the books content. That is how I would like to start this blog.

I am writing an historical fiction novel based in the years 1911-1912 with a focus on the Titanic. We all know the story. The unsinkable ship sinks! There have been many stories and movies written about the event. I’m sure you’ve seen or read at least one in your lifetime. But, I hope to cover some areas that other authors have left alone. The book I am writing centers around two main characters, Walter Swane Brown, and Julia Edith Blakely. Walter is from the working middle class, while Julia is from the upper middle class. Walter is a journalist, and through his eyes we see the story of the Titanic start to unfold. We’ll start the journey in Belfast where the Titanic was built, and end the story in New York after the sinking.

Throughout the course of the book I hope to explore more of the ship than has been told about before. I hope to paint an accurate picture of what happened that night, and to help it become more real to you. I will also be showing what it felt like to be living in England during the progressive movement, and to highlight the new inventions of that time.

The main purpose of this blog is to share what I am learning about the early 1900’s, and about Titanic herself through research. I will also be sharing excerpts from my book, as well as quotes from authors from that time period.

So, my dear reader, we have come to the end of the prologue. However, I hope you will join me as we go back to the past, and explore one of the greatest maritime tragedies of all time.